BWW REVIEW: Megan Hilty, The Wickedly Funny Star With A Powerhouse Voice Delights At The Sydney Opera House
Monday 17th June 2019, 7:30pm, Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Darling of Broadway and screen Megan Hilty delivers her endearing blend of comedy and expressive musical interpretation at her Sydney Opera House debut. Backed by a 40 piece orchestra led by Michael Tyack, this all too short one night engagement is a wonderful assortment of musical theatre and contemporary songs along with personal stories making for an intimate engagement in the iconic Concert Hall.
Many in Australia will know the curvaceous blonde from her starring role as Ivy Lynn in NBC's SMASH where she played a more seasoned performer vying for the role of Marilyn Monroe in a the fictitious new Broadway musical BOMBSHELL. Others may know the Carnegie Mellon graduate from her performances as Glinda the Good Witch in WICKED (Broadway and the US national tour) or the musical adaptation of 9 TO 5, ENCORES! staged concert of GENTLEMENT PREFER BLONDES or the revival of NOISES OFF. The soprano mother of two has a rich solid voice with full rounded warmth to her lower register and clear pure top range. This is paired with a fabulous stage presence and self-effacing personality which exudes a genuine joy at sharing her stories and interpretations of well-known songs with the eager audience, often throwing in little waves and giggles.
The selection of songs shared over the 80 minute concert include numbers from Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman's compositions for SMASH, Stephen Schawartz's WICKED, Irving Berlin's ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Leo Robin and Jule Styne's GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES as well as other Great American Songbook cabaret standards and a poignant and contemplative expression of Don Henley's The Heart Of The Matter. Whilst some pieces like Popular from Schwartz's WICKED are presented in the style of the original musical staging, others are given new arrangements in which Hilty draws new connection with the music. Adjusted tempos and different points of emphasis ensure that the text remains as important as the musicality of the piece and new understanding is often unearthed. Hilty has a wonderful way of creating feeling and emotions, from eliciting joy to tugging at the heartstrings and she makes sure that she connects with the whole audience with eye connection and use of the stage space.
Whilst Megan Hilty's Sydney engagement was a one night only event, Australian audiences could hop on a plane to Brisbane to catch her before she heads back to America. Hopefully she will be back in Australia soon as it is an absolute treat to experience this wonderful storyteller share her music and tales.